Disciplined to make the grade – JU’s Orashen learned her lesson the hard way
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Brittney Orashen wouldn’t listen to her mother, put grades on hold, failed a class her senior year in high school and it has cost her dearly.
After sitting out a torturous year on the lacrosse field, times sure have changed.
Orashen, a sophomore attacker on the Jacksonville University’s women’s lacrosse team, is back on the field, has learned a little about discipline and her grades would do a mother proud.
It wasn’t always that way for Orashen who is from Lebanon, N.J.
In high school, despite mom Karyn’s warnings, grades were near the bottom of Orashen’s cares. Friends, a horse and good times roaming around central New Jersey were much more important.
“I was pretty immature and thought about my friends more than academics,” Orashen said. “My mom always told me that after high school I wouldn’t really to talk to them much which I found out is somewhat true.”
She also spent an abundance of time at the barn with her horse, Maya, and got there by telling her mom she had no homework.
Despite being contacted by several lacrosse programs, including JU, in her junior and senior seasons, Orashen wouldn’t budge. Fun over grades. Little did she know that fun eventually would come back to haunt her.
“I didn’t focus on my grades which obviously killed me because of what happened,” she said.
What happened was as a senior she failed a humanities class which put her Eligibility Index numbers out of kilter. In the Index, a lower grade point average can be helped by higher SAT scores and vice-versa.
“I ended up with a 2.4 gpa, which is bad, and I could have done so much better it was me not trying,” she said. “I, by no means, did well on the SAT (she pulled about 890 on two sections). I just didn’t see that grades would matter much in getting in (college).”
As JU coaches Mindy and Paul McCord continued to show interest, Orashen retook the SAT and scored enough to get her in as a lacrosse player. Or so she thought.
Her world crashed down upon her in September of 2010, the day before she was to move in to Oak Hall on campus.
As Orashen, her grandfather George Peppe and Karyn sat in their hotel off Monument Road near 9A, Mindy McCord called and asked Brittney if she had taken the ACT, which would have helped even out the Eligibility Index.
Orashen hadn’t and the humanities class failure won. The retake of the SAT (she scored 920) hadn’t moved the index enough and she was left with two choices – entering JU as a non-qualifier or go back home to community college.
“I was bawling my eyes out,” she recalled. “It was the worst. The reason I came here was to play lacrosse. I had expected everything to go smooth, I’d move in, no problems.”
Because of extended restrictions — no lacrosse practice, no lacrosse anything (she couldn’t even pick up a stick in the presence of coaches) — Oraschen describes being a non-qualifier as being “worse than a redshirt.” Nonetheless, she stuck it out here and spent last season sitting in the stands with parents cheering. It was a school year she’d rather forget.
All the while, Orashen, now majoring in business, started learning and applying some discipline and started taking a look at her life’s big picture. The change has served her well as her first two semesters here she pulled 2.9 gpa’s and was 3.2 last fall.
Graduate assistant for Student-Athlete Services Natasha Harvey has seen a big change in Orashen.
“She definitely has matured since she’s been here,” Harvey said. “She’s understood what it takes to be successful academically, athletically and have a social life. It’s college. Everyone wants to have nice time but at the end of the day you want to graduate, get a degree and be successful in life. I think she can do that.”
Orashen clearly regrets being so in the moment back when.
“One hundred percent,” she said. “Sometimes I want to relax but I’ll study. Lately, with the schedule we have, it keeps me on track. I wake up go to classes, go to practice and study. I go to study hall and some kids are just looking at their computers not studying.
What’s the point of wasting that hour and a half when you can have it at night and just relax? With lacrosse it is so structured it keeps you on track.”
She’s also passing her lessons on to little sister Alexis and “stays on her case” about paying attention in school.
“You only have a short amount of time to prove yourself to the world grade-wise,” she said. “In high school it seems like a joke, but gpa does matter. Getting good grades can open more doors for you. I learned it the hard way. If you don’t have good grades, look at the consequences you have to suffer. I was so unstructured. I’m way more disciplined than I was which is awesome.”
VIDEO EXTRA: Hear it from Brittany Orashen in her own words….